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Ep. 22 Fridge foraging: Easy Peasy Toast and Topping Bar for Dad's Special Day

With Dad's Special day coming up, why not try something different? Scheduling full-blown parties are challenging this time of the year because of busy summer weekend schedules. I love entertaining at breakfast and brunch, it lends itself to a lot of do-ahead menus and folks can drop in, visit and be on their way for the rest of the day. My experience has been that most dad's like to keep things simple and a Toast and Topping Bar does just that.

Let them eat toast...

I developed the toast bar concept for weekend friends who come to visit at the lake house. It's easy for me to put out and folks can get up and eat at their leisure. It's a DIY set up so I never have to worry about preferences, everyone can find something on a toast and topping bar. I love this way of entertaining because it is easy on the host as far as prep and it won't break the bank.

I think I got the inspiration from my travels in Sweden and Denmark, The Smorbrod there which is open-faced sandwiches made a definite impression on me.

I remember my first bread and spreads buffet I saw many years ago at a farm conference. They did not have a lot of money for breaks for hundreds of people but they had bakers, cheese, and jam makers. They cleverly put out a huge spread over 2 tables of sliced grainy bread, cheeses, and pots of jams and butter. All from local producers. I was so impressed, I came home and put a "breads and spreads" platter on my catering menu using local foods. Fresh, good bread and tasty spreads can go a long way to give you a good bang for your entertaining buck, in my opinion.

Pick a lane....

Here are some tips to make your next Toast and Toppings bar a smash for Dad or anyone else:

  1. Start by picking a lane- Pick a theme and add to it, brainstorm, and have a vision of the table.

  2. Have a mix of savory and sweet toppings.

  3. Add some fruit to round out the meal.

  4. Shop your fridge doors for ideas- Condiments, spreads, pestos, etc added to butter or cream cheese makes a great base for bread.

  5. Set it up similar to a taco or salad bar so folks can make their own choices, children love this.

  6. Stick with smaller size loaves of bread, so folks can try a few different combinations.

  7. Thick slices of about a half-inch are more to make your toast sturdy enough for lots of toppings.

  8. Dress up your table with greens from the yard and herbs to add more whimsy to your platters.

How do I make a Toast and Topping Bar?

With this set up you can be as simple or as elaborate as you wish, here are some standby's I suggest:

You will want to keep the flavor profiles mild and delicate, particularly for breakfast, if you serve a toast and toppings bar later in the morning, then it can take on a Brunch vibe with more robust flavors.

Breads are the star- Select an assortment and figure about 2-3 slices per person depending on the size.

You can wrap the breads, and put them on a board with a knife the night before so it will be ready when you are.

Some of my favorite carriers are:

Crusty Multigrain with seeds

Keto or Low Carb Bread


Sweet Potato Slices (cooked)

Banana Bread

Any Seasonal bread or English muffins

Next is the base layer- It should be creamy and smooth with some protein if you are not using meats


Cream Cheese


Goat Cheese

Peanut butter

Pimento Cheese

Flavored Butters

Preserves and fruit spreads

Then the next layer can be the protein that makes it a meal and a bit heartier

Sliced boiled eggs

Smoked Salmon

Burrata cheese

Sliced deli ham and cheese



Crumbled Feta

Fruits and Vegetables are next

Thinly sliced tomatoes

Thinly sliced cucumbers

Sliced bananas


Pickled onions

Baby Spinach

Toppings and Seeds dress the toast up and make it appealing to the eye

Fresh Herbs and edible flowers

Everything but the bagel seasoning

Toasted Coconut

Cinnamon sugar

Sunflower seeds

You get the picture, you are only stifled by your imagination. The great thing about this style of entertaining is that you can do so much of it the night before, place it on platters, and store it in the fridge, so all you have to do the next morning is make the coffee and put the platters and condiments out

Chef's Notes:

After the party is over, there's not much to store except for the vegetables and items that are cut. Save them for an awesome salad lunch. Just make sure you store cut things in the fridge and you can keep them for 3-4 days, after that you lose quality.

For Beverages, I suggest a nice rich dark roast coffee or Bloody Marys make it more festive.

The only real equipment you need is a good toaster. If you have a crowd, borrow one to keep the toast flowing.

I love the creative outlet this setup can provide, and I know if you give it a try you will discover your inner culinary artist too!

Want to learn more recipes that are easy, healthy, and perfect for cooking with friends? Stop over at my website and register for my monthly newsletter at Also while you are at it, follow me on Facebook and Instagram.

Dads are like chocolate chip cookies; they may have chips or be totally nutty, but they are sweet and make the world a better place, especially for their children.” — Hillary Lytle, Writer


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